Etisalat signed a €3.15 billion financing deal to help fund its acquisition of a majority stake in Maroc Telecom, while also announcing encouraging financial results for the first quarter of the year.
The UAE-based operator group said it signed a “multi-currency club deal” with 17 banks “to fund the acquisition of Vivendi’s 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom”.
French media group Vivendi agreed to sell the stake in Maroc Telecom to Etisalat for €4.2 billion in November last year.
The financing is made up of two facilities which can be taken up in Euros or US dollars. The first part (Tranche A) is made up of a 12 month bridge loan totalling €2.1 billion, while the second part (Tranche B) is a three year bullet term loan of €1.05 billion.
The funds will be accessed when Etisalat closes the transaction with Vivendi.
Etisalat also announced an 11 per cent year-on-year increase in consolidated net profit for the first three months of 2014, reaching AED2.0 billion ($544.5 million). Consolidated revenue rose 3 per cent to AED9.9billion.
The UAE generated the largest proportion of revenue for the period (AED6.5 billion, up 8 per cent year-on-year), while the AED3.3 billion from international operations accounted for 34 per cent of consolidated revenue.
Etisalat group CEO Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar said the company plans to continue to expand its “service offering and geographic footprint” to diversify its revenue base and “cement our regional leadership position”, with Africa remaining a strategic region.
The group’s total subscriber base reached 145 million during Q1, equating to 4.5 million net additions — or a 3 per cent rise — over the course of the past 12 months. In the UAE, mobile subscribers increased 20 per cent year-on-year to 8.9 million.
During the period, Etisalat tested and deployed its first LTE-Advanced technology, using 1.8GHz and 800MHz bands. It also signed a network infrastructure sharing initiative with seven operators groups with a presence in the Middle East and Africa.
Julfar said the company’s data business continued its momentum into 2014 “and this segment will remain a strategic priority for the company”.